Care Questions : Article 42Care Questions : Article 42

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.42

"My Mother is in her late 80's and I am her only surviving child and I live in Canada. I speak regularly to my Mother on the phone and I try to visit her twice a year. I am coming to see her again in early January 2007.

When I last spoke to her on the phone she mentioned that her repeat medication prescriptions had been delivered and what a good service she received from her surgery, which is several miles away as she lives in a very rural area. When we spoke about her medication it appears she has been having the same prescriptions for a long time and saw no reason to change them.

However, I am not to happy about this situation and I write to ask if there is, within the NHS, procedures for regularly reviewing a persons medication?"

Answer : The National Service Framework for older people recommends that all people over the age of 75 who are taking four or more medicines should have a review every six months. For people over the age of 75 and taking up to three medicines, then a yearly check is advised. Contact your Mother's Surgery to arrange this.

The following information is for people who may live in urban areas and near an Alliance Pharmacy. If you collect your medication from an Alliance Pharmacy you can receive a free medicines check up there. This is under their Prescription Management Service, which you can sign up to at any time. There is no age limit.

The Medicines Check-Up gives you an opportunity to ask questions about the medicines you take, discuss any worries you might have, especially in relation to any possible changes to your lifestyle. At the end of your 20 minute Check-Up there may be recommendations that can be made such as:

Afterwards, a copy of the Check-Up will be given to you and a copy sent to your GP who will then discuss any possible changes with you.

"For many years I have used a local hairdressers in my small town. I used to walk to the shop but now I am unable to and need to be pushed in my wheelchair, left while I have my hair cut and then collected to be pushed back to my home.

Last time I went, I was advised that it would be better if I could find another hairdressers as the shop was really to small to take my wheelchair and if my carer was late, I took up quite a bit of space in the reception area. I agree it is not a big shop, but I do not think I cause a problem.

The hairdresser who told me does not own the shop but manages it for the owner, and she said she did not find my chair a problem but had been told by the owner to try to give the business a younger image. I do not want to change my hairdressers, do I have any redress?"

Answer : Under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), it is unlawful for service providers to treat disabled people less favourably than other people for a reason related to their disability. Similarly, under the Age Discrimination Act, it is illegal to discriminate on the grounds of age, so on both counts the owner of the hairdressser's shop could be breaking the law. Failure or refusal to provide a service that is offered to other people to a disabled person/older person is discrimination unless it can be justified.

I would suggest that you speak to your hairdresser who appears to be sympathetic, or get someone to do so on your behalf if you would find it difficult, and explain that the owner's instructions mean that he appears to be breaking the law and that he needs to make sure that a person such as yourself, can use the services his shop provides.

If you find that nothing happens then your next step could be to contact the Disability Rights Commission (DRC). The DRC supports disabled people in securing their rights under the Disability Discrimination Act. You can call the Commission's helpline on: 08457 622 633

A Christmas Thought

Millions of people are alone at Christmas, many of whom are elderly. If you have some time to spare you could volunteer to make an elderly person's Christmas less lonely. Try giving your local voluntary organisations a ring e.g WRVS, British Red Cross, local charity, etc. It could be popping in to see someone, writing Christmas cards for them, wrapping presents, making a room festive, inviting an elderly person for a meal, etc. You may not need to contact an organisation, you might even know someone in your street or village.